Graham Garden integrates Fountain Figures I-IV, a collection of graceful sculptures created by late Los Angeles artist Robert Graham, in a newly designed outdoor plaza at Halo. The four bronze fountain figures were inspired by gymnastic athleticism, strength, and beauty. The fountain water flows over bronze and granite into a shallow reflecting pool, integrated into the Halo’s landscape. For over fifty years, Robert Graham’s observation of the female form and use of scale allowed him to explore and create a range of intimate sized works and large public monuments, widely celebrated for their precise iconic detail.
The sculptures were originally part of CRA/LA’s mission in 1985 to incorporate public art in redevelopment projects and revitalize Downtown Los Angeles. The four sculptures are currently situated in an exterior landscaped setting that Graham’s son, Steven Graham, consulted on as part of the renovation at Wells Fargo Center.
Robert Graham was born in Mexico City in 1938 and moved to California in 1948. After studying art at San Jose State University and the San Francisco Art Institute, he spent time in London before settling into his studio in Venice, California, in 1972. Over the course of his career, Graham achieved worldwide acclaim through museum and gallery exhibitions and inclusion in museum and private collections. Graham is well known for his public commission projects. His first major civic commission came from the Olympic Arts Festival organization in Los Angeles in 1984. Other commissions include: the Monument to Joe Louis in Detroit (1986); the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. (1997); the Duke Ellington Memorial in New York City (1997); the Charlie “Bird” Parker memorial in Kansas City (1999); and the Great Bronze Doors of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (2002). Robert Graham also designed the National Medal of Arts in 1985, an award given by the President of the United States to artists and arts patrons for outstanding contribution to the arts.
Robert Graham’s work is in the collections of major institutions including Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Fine Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Visit the artist’s website to learn more, and view his prominent public works mapped here.
Photo Credits: Hunter Kerhart, 2020
Fountain Figures I–III, 1983
Fountain Figure IV, 1986-87